Recent News

December 12, 2013

United Way announces 2014 investments; focuses on school readiness, financial stability

CINCINNATI – Thanks to the thousands of individuals and companies that contributed to the 2013 campaign, United Way of Greater Cincinnati is investing more than $51 million in initiatives, programs and services essential to making progress toward achieving the region’s Bold Goals in Education, Income and Health.

"We are pleased that we are able to invest in impact areas that help children, families and individuals lead better lives," said United Way Board chair James C. Ellerhorst, partner, Deloitte. "These investments would not be possible without the generosity of our community’s individuals, companies and foundations, and the outstanding leadership of Michael and Sally Connelly, our 2013 campaign co-chairs, and their team of committed volunteers and staff."

UWGC president Robert C. Reifsnyder said, "Ours is a community that is committed to helping each other, and these investments are the result of so many generous donors and volunteers. Because of their support, United Way, working with its many agency and community partners, can help children attain academic and personal success, and families and individuals move toward financial stability.

"We are especially pleased to be able to reward top performing programs delivering quality services in education, income and health with increases based on performance," he added.

EDUCATION: Solid foundations lead to success in school and life

Preparing children for kindergarten, United Way’s top priority, is receiving $10,230,200, a .9 percent increase, for programs and initiatives such as Every Child Succeeds and Success By 6®. Another $7,538,200 is targeted for programs that help youth achieve success, another priority within education. Through its partnership in campaigns such as the Read On! Campaign for Early Grade-Level Reading and the Be the Change and One to One Tutoring initiatives, United Way is committed to working toward ensuring children have access to quality preschools and tutoring support to read on grade level.

"Education is the basis for success, but we tend to think of education in the context of skills like reading and math. More and more companies are looking for employees who can work within the diverse personalities of a team, who have problem-solving skills, who can make hard choices in a fast-paced environment. Social and emotional development in young children and throughout school years are critical to academic success, job success and life success," said Patty Nagelkirk, UWGC’s education community impact director.

By funding collaboratives like Consortium for Resilient Young Children (CYRC) led by The Children’s Home of Cincinnati Ohio, United Way furthers its work in education. The consortium is a collaboration of eight partner agencies that promotes the social and emotional development young children, and strengthens the capacity of teachers and caregivers.

Once children are ready for kindergarten, ensuring children are reading on grade is another milestone that sets the tone for children’s success in life. United Way’s support of programs like Cincinnati Public Schools and Covington Partners’ Community Learning Centers works to ensure struggling students get the support they need, both in and out of the classrooms, to graduate high school and be successful beyond graduation.

INCOME: Jobs with livable wages, career pathways critical to financially stable families

Another $8,190,500 will support programs that help families and individuals achieve financial stability, the second highest priority. The emphasis is on employment, job readiness and basic needs, particularly food and shelter, that continue to challenge local families.

"Lack of education and training show up time and time again as significant factors in unemployment and underemployment – in other words, people trapped in low-wage jobs. It’s not enough to have a job; the job needs to pay a livable wage with benefits in order to sustain a family’s self-sufficiency," said Lucy Crane, income community impact director. "That’s why we invest in collaboratives like Partners for a Competitive Workforce and programs like Career Pathways at Great Oaks Institute Health Professions Academy."

Career Pathways, a Partners for a Competitive Workforce program, provides low-income adults with case management, entry-level job skills training, employment, job retention, career advancement services and access to post secondary education. What makes this one of the distinctive programs United Way invests in is not just the services, but also the results. Of those who enroll, roughly 90 percent graduate and of those, about 85 percent obtain jobs. Over 70 percent retain their jobs.

In addition, United Way supports the Regional Earned Income Tax Credit initiative (EITC) a coalition of business, nonprofit and government partners with one purpose — to help eligible wage earners in the region receive quality tax preparation and wealth-building opportunities to strengthen their own financial stability. In 2012, the program, through its volunteers at tax preparation sites around the tri-state, returned more than $21.3 million to hardworking local families.

HEALTH: Improving region’s health requires holistic approach

To help individuals live quality lives and achieve maximum health and independence, United Way is investing $6,886,900 in health programs and initiatives.

"Health is linked to education and to income – children who have access to health care have better attendance and better grades; adults in good health are more productive at work and miss less days of work. The health of an individual can be faced with obstacles like lack of transportation, lack of insurance or the inability to pay co-payments. While it takes a collective approach to address the issues in health – access to clinics and preventative measures are things that can be addressed," said Charles Wright, a community impact director.

In its first year, health professionals at Mercy Franciscan at St. John’s Medical Outreach program, funded in part by United Way, have been able to bring medical assistance to families who need the support. Not only do families receive help with preventative health, the program takes a holistic approach to health with nutrition/fitness, health education and self-care programs to those with chronic illnesses.

Additionally, United Way determined earlier this year that its work in health needed a more collective approach as it worked with partners to create a regional, shared Community Health Improvement Plan. Through its support of The Health Collaborative, the region’s efforts in health are focusing on improving the population’s health – as well as improving quality and lowering cost of care – and bringing in resources that coordinate and monitor success.

Investing in lasting change in the Greater Cincinnati community

Other community investments include $1.5 million for place matters, with program locations in Avondale, Price Hill, Madisonville, Walnut Hills, Felicity, Middletown, and Covington.

Another $4.4 million is invested in capacity building; public policy and advocacy for critical education, income and health policies and funding; strategic initiatives; and research, survey and database support. The $4.4 million also includes United Way direct services such as United Way 211, United Way Volunteer Connection, Success By 6, Community Impact, and the Community Research Collaborative, a partnership with the University of Cincinnati.

The Greater Cincinnati Region of the American Red Cross, United Way’s fundraising partner in the campaign, receives $4.9 million. Donor-directed gifts to specific initiatives and programs, primarily related to early childhood, and to neighboring United Ways (primarily Butler and Warren counties), total $7.4 million.

$3.4 million is reserved for pledge collection loss (companies close, layoffs, deaths, moves). United Way itself will receive $5.2 million from the campaign for fundraising and $2 million for year-round operations. $675,000 is for national and state services such as public policy, training and campaign work with national corporations.

The investments are part of the second year of United Way’s three-year investment cycle for the Agenda for Community Impact.

The 2014 investments, approved at a December 10 meeting of UWGC’s Board of Directors, cover programs in 10 counties in southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana. Funding sources for investments come from the campaign, which raised $61.7 million, the United Way Foundation and reserves.